Wigan boss Michael Maguire will include a huge installment of youth into the friendly with St Helens this Sunday.
The two rivals are set to meet at Knowsley Road with a rather different look to them and as Maguire releases his squad, he says he can’t wait to see how the club’s young stars will perform.
“I’m really looking forward to it actually,” he told lasttackle.com.
“The fact that you get to see the senior players playing all the time, I haven’t had the chance to see most of the juniors.
“It’s going to be a really good starting point for the young kids, obviously they’re improving what they’re doing with their fitness levels, their strength levels and out on the field so I’m looking forward to see how they’re going to perform.”
Despite the match having the tag ‘friendly’, Maguire insists it will be anything but. Since his arrival in the town, the Australian has had constant reminders that beating the old enemy will see him half way to endearing himself to the Wigan faithful.
He added: “Everyone in the street keeps reminding me of the rivalry between the two teams and I’ve taken that on board and like any coach you always want all your players playing at their best.
“They’re always strong clashes. It’s always going to be a competitive match.”
Maguire added that friendly matches are crucial to a side’s preparation. The new Wigan boss has yet to see his side perform and believes that it will give him a good view of where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
He said: “They’re important to me because I haven’t actually seen them play live so for me it’s really important and particularly for these young guys as I haven’t seen a lot of these young guys so it’s definately important from my point of view.”
Deacon joined his hometown club from Bradford Bulls last month on a three-year deal. His first season will see him have dual responsibilities, doubling up as both player and assistant coach.
The remaining two years will see him hang up his boots and take his off-field role full-time. It is a move which excites the Wigan boss who is a strong believer in specific training. Using experts to utilise certain skills is something Maguire used at former club Melbourne Storm.
“Pauls’s a great asset,” he declarerd. “His experience and what he’s done in the game over here is brilliant.
“What he’s going to be able to bring to the young guys like his experiences and stories of what he has done in the past are only going to help the young guys coming through.
“Not even just the young guys as well, the seniors too. It’s all about working together and he’s going to be a major part of what we’re going to do.”
Despite an intense build-up, freak weather in the northwest has seen the game put in doubt.
Heavy snow and freezing temperatures have seen the Knowsley Road ground put in serious doubt with regard to safety for the fixture. An inspection is due this Saturday (Boxing Day) with a decision set to be made as early as the afternoon.
But despite the conditions hampering the build up, Maguire insists that it will not affect the way his side perform, which cannot be said about the way he has had to adapt to the cold climate!
“Both teams are in the same arena and both will face the same weather,” he explained. “Both teams will be aware of the weather but it will still be a strong clash.”
“Normally I’d be down the beach at this time but now I’ll be tucked inside next to the warm radiator!”
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